Maines Paper and Food Service, Inc. Reduces Lighting-Related Energy Use by 87%

Maines Headquarters

Customer: Maines Paper & Food Service, Inc.
Location: Conklin, NY
Facility Size: 460,000 ft2
Environment: Cold Storage Warehouse
Operational Schedule: 24 x 7
Installation: Retrofit
Savings: 87% lighting
Temperature Range: -20º to 70ºF (-29º to 21ºC)
Previous Solution: 400 W High-Pressure Sodium (HPS)
Utility Partner: NYSERDA

Installation of Digital Lumens LED-based Intelligent Lighting System throughout 460,000-square-foot facility slashes the company’s carbon footprint and increases light levels by 53%

With annual revenues approaching $3 billion, Maines Paper and Food Service, Inc. is one of the nation’s largest broadline food distributors. Through its network of warehouse facilities, the company serves customers in 35 states, offering competitively priced, quality foodservice products backed by exceptional levels of service. Operationally, Maines leads the industry in its commitment to sustainability and setting new standards in workplace productivity and safety.

It is this commitment to excellence that led Maines to re-evaluate the lighting needs at its 460,000-square-foot headquarters facility in Conklin, NY. Like any large warehouse with 24×7 operations, the spotlessly clean Conklin facility bustles with activity across all shifts. To rapidly pick and replenish products, forklift operators regularly zip back and forth through both ambient space and cold storage environments, which range from 70°F dry storage areas to 40°F refrigerated spaces to -20°F ice cream freezers. They rely on proper lighting to ensure safety and performance.

Until recently, the facility was illuminated with hundreds of 400W high-intensity discharge (HID) luminaires — a decade-old solution that resulted in under-lit spaces and poor-quality light. The challenge for the management team was finding a more energy-efficient and sustainable solution that produced — and subsequently maintained — higher levels of quality light, a key driver of safety and productivity.

Evaluating The Options

The facilities team considered fluorescent luminaires as a possible solution in both cold and dry spaces. However, to achieve desired light levels, they would need to install 8-lamp high-intensity fluorescents (HIF) at 300W each, which quickly eroded the potential energy savings and, as a mercury-based light source, created hazardous waste issues and costs. There were also significant concerns surrounding fluorescent luminaire performance in a cold environment. The search continued.

The Right Solution for Demanding Industrial Applications

The management team, working with their energy efficiency partner, then evaluated a new class of highly efficient ILE LED-based lighting solution from Digital Lumens. Designed specifically for demanding industrial applications, the ILE integrates high-intensity LEDs, sensing, networking, and software-based intelligence into a single luminaire that maximizes light delivery and minimizes energy use.

Light Meter reading confirms ILE LED Luminaires achieves 20.04 footcandles of illumination at the aisle task level.

Following a pilot installation, which included carefully evaluating the system in both dry and cold environments, the Maines team decided to retrofit its 400W HID luminaires with the Digital Lumens solution. Installed as one-for-one replacements for existing high bay luminaires, the ILE:

  • Performed exceptionally well in all of the facility’s environments
  • Required little or no maintenance or re-lamping
  • Produced instant, high-quality light when, and where needed
  • Provided the Maines team with the data they required to document energy use and continuously improve performance over time

Maines’ installation of the Digital Lumens Intelligent Lighting System qualified for financial incentives from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), an organization that helps businesses across the state enhance operational efficiency by funding sustainable, energy-efficient projects. NYSERDA’s focus on reducing energy consumption and protecting the environment dovetailed nicely with Maines’ strategic goals.

The Maines team evaluated and selected the Digital Lumens solution. From left, James McColloch, Director of the Warehouse; Eddy Osorio, Facility Manager; and Pat DeOrdio, Vice President of Operations.

A Bright Future for Energy Savings

With a payback of fewer than two years, driven by massive energy savings, the Digital Lumens solution has proven to be a perfect fit for Maines. Since deployment, the Intelligent Lighting System has dramatically increased light levels for facility staff, while driving down energy usage by a documented 87%. Maines expects to save 1,726,108 kWh and eliminate 1,240 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year — equivalent to removing 200 homes per year from the grid. Those results contribute significantly to the safe and sustainable work environment at Maines.

“Our experience with Digital Lumens put to rest any questions we had regarding the use of LED-based light fixtures in complex warehouse environments.

With the Intelligent Lighting System, we now have access to a long-lifecycle, low maintenance, high-quality lighting source that provides the in-depth usage data we require to fine-tune our system to meet actual, versus estimated, needs.

The result is a smarter, vastly more efficient, and sustainable solution that puts us firmly in control of our lighting, today and in the future.”

Pat DeOrdio, VP of Operations, Maines Paper and Food Service, Inc.